Private tenants in severe rental arrears at two year low

Figures released today showed the number of private tenants in severe arrears – two months or more behind on their rent – has fallen sharply to the lowest level in two years.

The latest Tenant Arrears Tracker figures, by LSL Property Services, are the lowest since the third quarter of 2011 when the number last stood below 70,000.

From Q2 to Q3 in 2013 there was a 25 per cent drop from 92,000 to 69,000 – a drop of 23,000 – and there was a 34 per cent drop from a year ago.

Private renters in serious arrears now represent 1.7 per cent of all tenancies in England and Wales, down from 2.4 per cent in the previous quarter.

David Brown, commercial director of LSL Property Services, believes this is due to improving tenant finances due to investment in the private rented sector and inflation slowing. ‘Investment in the private rented sector is accelerating. That’s helping to keep supply growing of homes to let. And in turn, better supply is the only real way to keep rental inflation under control,’ he said. 

‘Over the last quarter, rents have consistently risen more slowly than shop prices, and wages and rents are now growing at a similar annual rate. Recently, that seems to have really helped tenants under financial pressure. But ultimately, many more homes will be needed for them to keep going round at an affordable rate.’